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Profile: Mark Sharlow
  1. Mark F. Sharlow, An Introduction to Subjective Facts: Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This collection serves as an introduction to the concept of subjective fact, which plays a central role in some of the author's philosophical writings. The collection contains two book chapters and a paper. The first chapter (Chapter 2 of From Brain to Cosmos) begins with an informal characterization of the concept of subjective fact. Then it fleshes out this concept with examples, gives a more precise characterization, and addresses some potential weaknesses of the concept. This chapter shows how subjective fact (...)
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  2. Mark F. Sharlow, Beyond Physicalism and Idealism: Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 13) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. In that excerpt, the author presents a study of the notion of truth using the concept of subjective fact developed earlier in the book. The author argues that mind-body materialism is compatible with certain forms of metaphysical idealism. The chapter closes with some remarks on relativism with regard to truth. (This document depends heavily upon the concept of subjective fact developed in From Brain (...)
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  3. Mark F. Sharlow, Can Machines Have First-Person Properties?
    One of the most important ongoing debates in the philosophy of mind is the debate over the reality of the first-person character of consciousness.[1] Philosophers on one side of this debate hold that some features of experience are accessible only from a first-person standpoint. Some members of this camp, notably Frank Jackson, have maintained that epiphenomenal properties play roles in consciousness [2]; others, notably John R. Searle, have rejected dualism and regarded mental phenomena as entirely biological.[3] In the opposite camp (...)
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  4. Mark F. Sharlow, Conscious Subjects in Detail: Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This document consists primarily of excerpts (chapters 5 and 10-12) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. These excerpts address several traditional problems about the histories of conscious subjects, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. Topics include the persistence of conscious subjects through time, the unity or disunity of the self, and the possibility of splitting conscious subjects. (These excerpts depend heavily upon the author’s concept of subjective fact as developed in (...)
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  5. Mark F. Sharlow, Tomorrow Is for Freedom.
    The four talks in this collection are based on impromptu lectures by Mark Sharlow. Explores the topics of freedom, justice, punishment, capitalism, distributism, and the limits of government.
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  6. Mark F. Sharlow, God: The Next Version.
    This short e-book is (in the author's words) "an attempt to open up new and better ways of thinking about God." The author draws together insights from philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and ontology to construct a conception of God that avoids both supernaturalism and simplistic forms of pantheism.
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  7. Mark F. Sharlow, Knowledge of How Things Seem to You: Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 4) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. That excerpt presents a study of a specific problem about knowledge: the logical justification of one’s knowledge of the immediate past. (This document depends heavily upon the concept of subjective fact that the author developed in chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos. Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read those chapters first. See the last page of this (...)
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  8. Mark F. Sharlow, Patchworks.
    This book is a collection of some of my writings that do not fit the mold of standard philosophical articles. These writings range over several topics, including religion, free will, human dignity, the nature of persons, and a few others. The longest item in the collection is an archive of my blog, The Unfinishable Scroll, as it existed when the book was put together. That blog covers many philosophical topics, including some I haven't discussed elsewhere. Also in the collection are (...)
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  9. Mark F. Sharlow, Playing Fast and Loose with Complexity: A Critique of Dawkins' Atheistic Argument From Improbability.
    This paper is a critique of Richard Dawkins’ “argument from improbability” against the existence of God. This argument, which forms the core of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, provides an interesting example of the use of scientific ideas in arguments about religion. Here I raise three objections: (1) The argument is inapplicable to philosophical conceptions of God that reduce most of God’s complexity to that of the physical universe. (2) The argument depends on a way of estimating probabilities that fails (...)
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  10. Mark F. Sharlow, Personal Identity and Subjective Time: Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 5) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. That excerpt presents an analysis of personal identity through time, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. (Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos first. See the last page of this document for details on how to obtain those chapters.).
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  11. Mark F. Sharlow, Poetry's Secret Truth.
    Poetry, it is said, can reveal truth. Yet despite the best efforts of philosophers and poets to describe this truth, very few understand what kinds of truth poetry can convey.* One fact seems clear: only a few of the truths of poetry can be captured equally well in prose. Poetry also conveys truths of a different kind — truths that seem to exist on a level entirely different level from that of ordinary, factual truth. Some poems try to teach moral (...)
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  12. Mark F. Sharlow, Qualia and the Problem of Universals.
    In this paper I explore the logical relationship between the question of the reality of qualia and the problem of universals. I argue that nominalism is inconsistent with the existence of qualia, and that realism either implies or makes plausible the existence of qualia. Thus, one's position on the existence of qualia is strongly constrained by one's answer to the problem of universals.
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  13. Mark F. Sharlow, Subjective Facts and Other Minds: Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 6) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. That excerpt presents an analysis of the problem of knowledge of other minds, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. (Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos first. See the last page of this document for details on how to obtain those chapters.).
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  14. Mark F. Sharlow, Time and Subjective Facts: Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This document consists primarily of excerpts (chapters 5 and 7-9) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. These excerpts address some traditional philosophical problems about temporal flux and identity through time, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. (Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos first. See the last page of this document for details on how to obtain those chapters.).
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  15. Mark F. Sharlow, The Meadow, the Sky, and the Vision.
    The year is 1965. A child stands at the top of a hill, looking out over a vast golden meadow. In the field below is a dirt trail. Bicycles sail by on the trail, carrying other children to their playful destinations. Beyond the far edge of the field is the sea. On the sea are boats and ships — distant descendants of the caravels and barkentines that once explored the unknown waters of Earth.
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  16. Mark F. Sharlow, The Philosophical Work of Mark Sharlow: An Introduction and Guide.
    Provides an overview of Mark Sharlow's philosophical work with summaries of his positions. Includes references and links to his writings.
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  17. Mark F. Sharlow, The Unfinishable Book.
    This is not a normal book. It is a collection of transcripts of talks that I gave between the year 2003 and now. I gave most of these talks on the spur of the moment, without making notes ahead of time. (“Impromptu” is the usual term for that dangerous way of speaking.) One of the “talks” is not a transcript, but a set of notes for a talk I never gave. Any organization or order in the talks is purely coincidental—or (...)
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  18. Mark F. Sharlow, The Unfinishable Scroll and Beyond: Mark Sharlow's Blogs, July 2008 to March 2011.
    An archive of Mark Sharlow's two blogs, "The Unfinishable Scroll" and "Religion: the Next Version." Covers Sharlow's views on metaphysics, epistemology, mind, science, religion, and politics. Includes topics and ideas not found in his papers.
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  19. Mark F. Sharlow, What's Really Wrong with the Argument From Design?
    This document is an edited transcript of an impromptu talk by Mark F. Sharlow. In this talk, Dr. Sharlow examines one of the common arguments for God’s existence. He suggests that this argument is wrong, but not for the reason that skeptics usually cite. Instead, he points out a deeper error — and shows that by understanding this mistake, we can gain new insights into evolution and design.
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  20. Mark F. Sharlow, Which Systems Are Conscious? Readings in From Brain to Cosmos.
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 14) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. In that excerpt, the author uses the concept of subjective fact developed earlier in the book to address a question about consciousness: which physical systems (organisms or machines) are conscious? (This document depends heavily upon the concept of subjective fact developed in From Brain to Cosmos. Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to (...)
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  21. Mark F. Sharlow, Which Systems Are Conscious?
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 14) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. In that excerpt, the author uses the concept of subjective fact developed earlier in the book to address a question about consciousness: which physical systems (organisms or machines) are conscious? (This document depends heavily upon the concept of subjective fact developed in From Brain to Cosmos. Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to (...)
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  22. Mark F. Sharlow, Yes, We Have Conscious Will.
    In this paper I examine Daniel M. Wegner's line of argument against the causal efficacy of conscious will, as presented in Wegner's book "The Illusion of Conscious Will" (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2002). I argue that most of the evidence adduced in the book can be interpreted in ways that do not threaten the efficacy of conscious will. Also, I argue that Wegner's view of conscious will is not an empirical thesis, and that certain views of consciousness and the (...)
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  23. Mark F. Sharlow (forthcoming). Lewis's Modal Realism: A Reply to Naylor's "a Note on David Lewis's Realism About Possible Worlds&Quot;. Analysis 48 (1):13-15.
    This note is a reply to margery bedford naylor's "a note on david lewis's realism about possible worlds" ("analysis", ja 1986, 28-29). naylor asks why, if we accept david lewis's argument for real possible worlds ("counterfactuals", blackwell, 1973, 84), we should not accept an analogous argument for impossible worlds. i argue that the latter argument is invalid on the modal realist account of possibility and thus has no force for an adherent of lewis.
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  24. Mark F. Sharlow (2005). Cortical Feedback and the Ineffability of Colors. Psyche 11 (7).
    Philosophers long have noted that some sensations (particularly those of color) seem to be ineffable, or refractory to verbal description. Some proposed neurophysiological explanations of this ineffability deny the intuitive view that sensations have inherently indescribable content. The present paper suggests a new explanation of ineffability that does not have this deflationary consequence. According to the hypothesis presented here, feedback modulation of information flow in the cortex interferes with the production of narratives about sensations, thereby causing the subject to assess (...)
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  25. Mark F. Sharlow (2001). Broadening the Iterative Conception of Set. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 42 (3):149-170.
    The iterative conception of set commonly is regarded as supporting the axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory (ZF). This paper presents a modified version of the iterative conception of set and explores the consequences of that modified version for set theory. The modified conception maintains most of the features of the iterative conception of set, but allows for some non-wellfounded sets. It is suggested that this modified iterative conception of set supports the axioms of Quine's set theory NF.
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  26. Mark F. Sharlow (1987). Proper Classes Via the Iterative Conception of Set. Journal of Symbolic Logic 52 (3):636-650.
    We describe a first-order theory of generalized sets intended to allow a similar treatment of sets and proper classes. The theory is motivated by the iterative conception of set. It has a ternary membership symbol interpreted as membership relative to a set-building step. Set and proper class are defined notions. We prove that sets and proper classes with a defined membership form an inner model of Bernays-Morse class theory. We extend ordinal and cardinal notions to generalized sets and prove ordinal (...)
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